Disclaimer: The X-Men characters, and all other recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment Group. This work of FanFiction is not meant to infringe on that copyright or defame Marvel Comics or the X-Men and related characters in any way.
Copyright: No copying, distributing or editing of this material is permitted without the express permission of the creator, K-Nice, under United States copyright law. I abstain from violence... but my bodyguard doesn't. This is set at anytime during Rogue's tenure with the X-Men.

by K-Nice

Nights are long when one is alone. She knows this well, from long years of long nights.

Yet, even in the dark, there remains her one secret pleasure. That one thing that belongs to her and no one else. A possession so private, so personal, that fate has made it unattainable to anyone but herself.

Her eyes flutter open, bright with anticipation of her one glory.


She creeps from her bed, tossing the covers one last time. Slowly, she strips off the layers, the cotton and nylon and spandex that form her outer shell. She can't help but smile as she exposes her greatest fear to the night.

Smooth, supple skin.

Bare feet shiver against the carpeted floor, not from cold but from the simple joy of the sensation. No boots or socks to protect others, nothing to keep her from enjoying the simple experience of running her soles on plush tufted nylon.

Her room is a prison and a sanctuary. Closed off from those that would touch her, she has the freedom to explore the very thing that traps her.

There is something exquisite about skin, something decadent about human flesh.

It has a scent and flavor all its own. Salty with sweat, sweet with vanilla, chalky with talc. She inhales deeply whenever she fines herself in close quarters with another, teammate and stranger alike. She is probably the only person alive attaches such intense feelings of dread and lust to subway cars and elevators. Though she is ever aware of the danger in her touch, the heady perfume of human bodies is what she craves when she ventures out among the throngs. More than any expensive cologne, it entices and enthralls her.

Shades and tones vary from person to person, but whether cream or peach or olive or mocha, chocolate, coffee, skin is always food to her, something to consume, devour. Closing her eyes, she runs her mind over the hues of her friends, acquaintances, passersby. They fascinate her with variety, intoxicate her with their beauty.

Licking her lips, their pink tinge darkened by the pressure, she moves to the curtained windows. Colors change with emotions, like the warm blossom of rose on her cheek as she opens a window, despite the fact that there is no one awake to see her. Even the season has an effect on flesh, as a winter wind turns her fingers tips as blue as violets.

She smiles, willing her invulnerable skin to feel the low temperature. Sub-zero with the wind-chill translates to a delicious tingle across her arms and she leans out to drink in the sensation.

The sky is crystal clear, as it tends to be on crisp, cold nights, and even the quarter moon seems to light the landscape in soft blue. Letting moonlight cascade upon her limbs, she is tempted fly, to be caressed by the gusts that sway the pines in the surrounding woods. Instead, she watches her skin turn pink, blood rushing to the surface to warm her.

Skin. Marvelous.

The thought of warmth sparks another desire in her. Night air buffets her as she turns toward the bathroom. She runs a hot bath in the sterile porcelain tub. She runs her fingers through the water. To most its temperature would be scalding. To her, it is just the other side of tepid. Fragrant bath oils, a floating candle, and soft music create the atmosphere.

She doesn't get to enjoy massages or manicures with the other girls. She can't bear the look in the technician's eyes when she asked them to wear latex gloves. Freak. Although they think it for different reasons, it still hurts in the same places: Everywhere.

For once shaking off self-pity, she settles into the steaming water, sighing as the heat laps at her skin, licks it clean like a thousand tongues. Sinking beneath the surface, she lets it dissolve everything she is into the stimulation of her skin. Her lips toy with the surface, bobbing between the air and water as if to kiss them both while committing to neither.

Pulling herself up, she leans her head against the mirrored walls. She smiles, for once acknowledging her own beauty, admitting that the stares aren't all meant to torture her. She examines herself, trying to see the woman behind the weapon. She is round in all the right places, her skin running over curves like flowing silk. The taunt muscles make her skin writhe and stretch as she flexes and twists.

Her eyes are transfixed by skin which seems to jump of its own volition. As she watches, she comes to understand the steady rhythm. The subtle movements of perfectly tanned skin stirs a craving in her. A craving for touch.

Reaching up, she touches the warm skin where the neck meets the jaw. There is something intimate and secret about the crevice even though it is naked before the world. Caressing the area with reverence, she strokes slowly away from the bone. Her fingers dance along the vein, feeling the throbbing pulse like a drum beat. She can feel the blinding beauty of it run down her arm, resonating in her bones.

Her eyes snap open. The womb-like cocoon is supposed to comfort her. In its arms she had intended to forget about the pleasures of skin, about the taste of human flesh. Instead, it heightens the need inside her.

She emerges from the water trembling, fighting a desire she used to encourage, suppressing a hunger she used to indulge. Heedless of the restraints she has placed on herself, the rules she has devised to become righteous, she grabs her night shirt, as if stalling will make passion crawling across her body go away. With her heart pounding loud enough to deafen her, she cracks her bedroom door.

If she is careful, no one will ever have to know.

One taste. Her hands on human flesh. One touch. Skin to skin.

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